Archive for the ‘US Frontier West’ Category

THE SWAN GONDOLA by Timothy Schaffert

Swan Gondola literally starts off with a bang! Two elderly sisters, Emmaline and Hester, known by most in their small county, as the “Old Sisters Egan,” are sitting in their Nebraska farm kitchen drinking coffee. The day has been a peaceful one. Suddenly the house begins to shiver and shake and they are enveloped in noise, a loud BANG!! Books fall from their shelves, china dishes and cups fall to the floor, breaking, chimney bricks drop into the hearth, their caged canaries stop singing and the two sisters are left stunned, shocked.

February 14, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, US Frontier West, Wild West

THE SON by Philipp Meyer

There is nothing small about the state of Texas nor is there anything small about this epic masterpiece of a novel, which will surely catapult Philipp Meyer into the ranks of the finest American novelists.

What he has accomplished is sheer magic: he has turned the American dream on its ear and revealed it for what it really is: “soil to sand, fertile to barren, fruit to thorns.” The most astounding thing is, you don’t know how good it really is until you close the last page and step back and absorb what you have just experienced.

December 23, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, Facing History, Texas, US Frontier West, Wild West

THE ORCHARDIST by Amanda Coplin

In this understated and emotionally raw novel of a family born as much from choice as from blood, debut novelist Amanda Coplin explores themes of love, loyalty, courage, compassion, revenge, and honor, as well as the lifelong, traumatic impact of both childhood abuse and loss.

December 22, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Debut Novel, Facing History, Reading Guide, US Frontier West, US Northwest

LAMB by Bonnie Nadzam

David Lamb has the emotional life of a Rubik’s Cube. All the pieces are there but it seems impossible at times to get his emotional life organized, put together, and working well. He’s like a chess game played by one person, every piece under his dominion, tutelage and control. Only he can checkmate his own self. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.

October 12, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Literary, US Frontier West, US Midwest

HELL IS EMPTY by Craig Johnson

William Walk Sacred describes the Native American vision quest experience as a time when, “You are presenting yourself before the Great Spirit and saying, ‘Here I am. I am pitiful. I am naked.” “You’re down to the nitty gritty of who you are.” He adds, “You cannot go off the path at that point because you are now owned by the spirits. They watch you continuously. There is no hiding.” This quest to gain spiritual insights and to, in effect, travel to God, can be compared to the allegorical journey taken in Dante’s The Divine Comedy in which a soul moves through hell, purgatory, and heaven. Of course, hell (Inferno) is the most gripping. The ninth circle of Dante’s hell holds those guilty of treachery in an icy prison, with Satan encased waist-high in the center. How fitting then that Sheriff Walt Longmire of Absaroka County, Wyoming should find himself in a mountain snow storm with a beat-up copy of Dante’s Inferno, battling the elements, violent men, his own limits of endurance, and mysteries of the mind and spirit — in effect, undergoing his own involuntary vision quest.

June 30, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Reading Guide, Sleuths Series, US Frontier West, Wild West

THE SOJOURN by Andrew Krivak

World War I was the deadliest conflict in Western history, but contemporary portrayals of war in literature and cinema primarily focus on examples of combat from the past fifty or sixty years. At a time when the Great War is receding into the annals of distant history, this elegiac and edifying novel has been released–a small, slim but powerful story of a young soldier, Josef Vinich, who hails from a disenfranchised and impoverished family in rural Austria-Hungary.

May 25, 2011 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Austria, Coming-of-Age, Debut Novel, Facing History, Reading Guide, US Frontier West, World Lit